2 June 2020
DOD announces Defense Production Act Title 3 COVID-19 projects to support space defense industrial base
As part of the national response to COVID-19, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has signed a $12.45m contract award with 5N Plus Semiconductor Corp of St George, Utah - the US-based subsidiary of engineered materials and specialty chemicals producer 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Quebec, Canada – for a project (to be performed over an expected 39 months) to improve semiconductor production processes to “support long-term business viability and maintain the sole domestic source of critical semiconductor technologies for space programs,” says DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews.
The agreement will support 5N Plus Semiconductors’ product and process capability integration with US space satellite suppliers to complete development and qualification of next-generation semiconductor products and technologies.
5N Plus provides purified metals such as bismuth, gallium, germanium, indium, selenium and tellurium, and also produces related II-VI semiconducting compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), cadmium sulphide (CdS) and indium antimonide (InSb) as precursors for the growth of crystals for solar, LED and eco-friendly materials applications.
The Department of Defense has also signed a $6m contract with SolAero Technologies of Albuquerque, NM, USA (formerly the Space Photovoltaics business of Emcore, making high-efficiency solar cells and panels) to sustain critical domestic industrial base capability for satellite solar array panels during the COVID-19 pandemic. SolAero will expand its domestic production capability and capacity for advanced satellite solar cells and panels.
SolAero aims to accomplish this by addressing critical capabilities and capacity to integrate advanced solar cells into covered interconnected cells (CICs) and photovoltaic assemblies (PVAs). This should enable SolAero to retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic.
Both Defense Production Act Title 3 contracts support the space defense industrial base, and use funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act.